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I find this tag is often being misused, at least according to it's excerpt, the original Meta thread and also the tag wiki.

Currently, reads:

[Excerpt] Analysis of a DNA, RNA, or peptide sequence to understand its features, function, structure, or evolution.

[Wiki] In bioinformatics, methodologies used include sequence alignment, searches against biological databases, and others.

The term "sequence analysis" also occurs in chemistry (identifying the order of monomers in a polymer) and marketing (analytical customer relationship management applications, such as NPTB models (Next Product to Buy).

See this thread for context on the creation of and differences from (another beast altogether): Add tags for sequencing, sequence analysis or TraMineR?

What should we do to avoid the ambiguity? Create new tags? Re-tag things? Broaden the tag definition?

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    $\begingroup$ I have once upon a time done some cleanup of misuse of tag sequential-analysis, maybe we need better names which cannot so easy be misunderstood? $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2023 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ I think these terms are well-defined and are interesting, vibrant, and challenging areas of statistics. Questions and searches on this topic will be less visible if named differently. $\endgroup$
    – AdamO
    Aug 24, 2023 at 22:17

2 Answers 2

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Over the time I have have spent here, I have observed that some of the tags that are misused most usually end with analysis (and of course ).

One can be pensive about the possible reasons, but the general causes of a blatant misuse are these:

$\bullet$ Trail of ambiguity: When someone is asking any question that involves some analysis (not zeroing in on what it could be) or is altogether asking about the veracity of an analysis or so forth, they would type the word analysis in the tag field and whatever they feel has the proximity to their interest, click on the one without bothering much. As of the tag in concern, I checked some of the questions where OP used the tag and the abject misuse was predominant. But what this showed is that OP intended to use that tag for indicating there is a sequence that needs to be analysed (in time series, rate of convergence of series, their order, etcetera). For example, see this post which basically is asking about the order of convergence. When OP was searching for a tag like , the first thing that appeared was .

$\bullet$ Insouciance: Let's face it. The cohort of users checking a tag wiki before using it is small. There can be scant to no information in the tag wiki. But, imo, the current tag in discussion has enough info stated for any user to get acquainted with what it entails and when it should be used. It explicitly states the field of study it is relevant and the misuse clearly implies that OP never read the tag wiki at the first place.

So what is the possible way to avert this? I would advocate for changing the nomenclature rather than modifying the tag wiki. One can vouch for the latter, and I have no qualms on that but changing that while retaining the old name that perpetuated the practice would be futile.

I can't see any necessity for creation of any broad tags like or . Proper naming that clearly articulates what it means and has no scope of vagueness (like in this case, as suggested by Stephan Kolassa in Ten Fold, or suggested by gung - Reinstate Monica in a comment) should be adopted.

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    $\begingroup$ Would [omics] work? I'm not actually sure of the scope of that term, but I think it covers the analysis of DNA & RNA sequences, among other things. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2023 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ I can concur with this @gung-ReinstateMonica. Point is the tag needs a revamp in the name and all those analysis ending tags need to be re-checked. What would be the apt name, that is to be decided by the community. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2023 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ I second [omics] because this would cover proteins as well. $\endgroup$
    – mkt
    Aug 7, 2023 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for suggesting the tag wiki @mkt. $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2023 at 9:00
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    $\begingroup$ I propose we make sequence-analysis as synonym of omics or outright dump the former. $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2023 at 9:03
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    $\begingroup$ I would just like to add that [omics] today cover fields that are absolutely not related (in principle) to sequences (i.e., radiomics, metabolomics, microbiomics) $\endgroup$
    – Firebug
    Aug 10, 2023 at 11:36
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    $\begingroup$ One reason of the misusage of the [sequence-analysis] tag is that sequence analysis has become popular in social sciences, although the scope of sequence analysis is quite different in social sciences. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequence_analysis_in_social_sciences . $\endgroup$
    – Gilbert
    Aug 15, 2023 at 13:12
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    $\begingroup$ That type of sequence is covered by both [time-series] and [panel-data] $\endgroup$
    – Firebug
    Aug 19, 2023 at 6:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Firebug, I suppose you are replying to Gilbert's comment. In any case, as I reiterated (deleted the redundant comment) if additional tags are deemed to be needed by community, they can create one and if existing ones are suffice (as you indicated), then it's better. In any case, the tag in question has been misused and should be dropped from all those posts and proposed tags should be used. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2023 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, missed tagging them $\endgroup$
    – Firebug
    Aug 19, 2023 at 7:14
  • $\begingroup$ From the thread on the tag creation @Firebug is referring to, it appears that the sequence-analysis tag was originally created for questions on SA as considered in social sciences, not for bioinformatics. I do not understand why we could not share the tag across disciplines. In my view, we could only benefit from such bridges across disciplines. $\endgroup$
    – Gilbert
    Aug 22, 2023 at 11:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Firebug time series and panel data are essentially concerned with quantitative variables while in sequence analysis sequences are categorical. $\endgroup$
    – Gilbert
    Aug 22, 2023 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilbert Sharing the tag doesn't make sense unless the two different sets of questions share something in common beyond a name, such as methods. It would make more sense to get rid of sequence-analysis entirely and replace it with more specific terms like perhaps social-sequence-analysis and omics. $\endgroup$
    – mkt
    Aug 23, 2023 at 6:04
  • $\begingroup$ I'll repeat again, [omics] is a bad idea because many of it's "branches" do not deal with sequences (radiomics, connectomics, etc) $\endgroup$
    – Firebug
    Aug 25, 2023 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Firebug (1) You're right that some omics branches don't use sequences, though I think it's fair to say that the biggest branches do. (2) I don't think we need all omics branches to have sequences for sequence-analysis to be made a duplicate of omics. We just need omics to be a superset of sequence-analysis. Questions about radiomics and connectomics could also be tagged with omics, because the tag wouldn't imply a sequence. All that said, I think genetic-sequence-analysis is a reasonable option too (along with the complementary social-sequence-analysis for the remainder). $\endgroup$
    – mkt
    Aug 25, 2023 at 7:45
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Proposal (downvote if disagree):

[sequence-analysis] -> [sequencing]

Sequencing has unambiguous ties to genetics and biochemistry, which was the intended usage of the tag. See Wiki.

It also has the same initial letters [sequenc*] which might lead to easier adoption for people that were correctly using the previous tag

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    $\begingroup$ Firebug, I think it could be more insightful to someone coming first time here making a mind of this by providing at least a single line as to how sequencing is (not) related to sequence-analysis. That would better reflect the decision process of the community, imo. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2023 at 12:41
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks Firebug for the edit. $\endgroup$ Aug 25, 2023 at 8:10

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